How to Replace an Alternator in a 2002 Kia Sedona

This is Joseph, and I'm hijacking the blog today to perform a public service. Usually when I do car work, I google for instructions and get complete details on how to do the work. This saves me from extra work, injury, and death. However, when the alternator went bad in the Kia, I could find no online help for a 2002 Kia Sedona. I have learned the hard way how to replace this alternator, and I'm passing this knowledge along to all.

And for all you female readers of this blog: I know this is not the type of post you are used to on this blog, but just think--you could have bragging rights with your husband (i.e. "I know how to replace an alternator in a 2002 Kia Sedona and you don't, so there!").

Step by step instructions:

1) Are you sure the alternator's bad!?!? Replacing an alternator in this vehicle is NOT an easy task and is not recommended for men with high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant. Side effects include nausea, insomnia, and very dirty fingernails. If you experience that it takes you longer than 4 hours to remove this alternator, call your mechanic immediately.

To make sure the alternator needs to be replaced, google "how to test an alternator" and invest in a good multimeter if you don't have one.

2) Remove battery terminal connections and wait at least 30 min for the airbags to be disabled.

3) Remove the air filter intake (large black plastic thing on top of the radiator that connects to the air filter housing).

4) Remove support beam above radiator (6 x 14mm screws and 4 x 12mm screws).

5) Remove radiator hoses connected to the pipe that runs along the front of the engine block. There are two, one on the left that connects to the radiator, and one on the right the connects to the thermostat housing on the side of the block).

This will cause antifreeze to spill all over your driveway. Ideally you should put something down to catch it, but if you didn't, this would be a great time for those disease-ridden stray cats to come around looking for a snack.

6) Now remove the pipe that these hoses were connected to (2 x 12mm screws). You will now get a visual of the alternator, which is a good thing considering you have to replace it.

7) Remove both fans attached to the radiator. This is the hard part. There at least 4 screws holding each one down, one on top, one on the bottom, and two on the side. The side screws are very difficult to get to. You will need one or more of the following to get them loose:
  • Extremely small and agile fingers
  • Psychokinetic abilities that allow you to move things with your mind that you cannot possibly reach with your hands
  • The proper tool (flexible ratchet extension)

After you remove the fans, you will have created a path to move the alternator across the front of the engine block and out.

8) Loosen (or remove) the serpentine belt by loosening the manual adjustment pulley. This is the pulley with the 12mm nut on the side and underneath. If you do not know how to loosen a manual adjustment pulley, you are dumb. (google it if you need to know how to do it)

9) Remove the black support bar the connects the alternator to the engine block. (2 x 12mm screws)

At this point, your kids (who should be asleep by now) will be crying at you through their bedroom window because it's so unfair that they have to go to sleep while Daddy gets to play outside and have fun.

10) Ignore them. You have work to do. Remove the three bolts on the left side of the alternator. Two of them will not come all the way out because of lack of space, but they will come out far enough to remove the alternator.

You will now have to install a light because it has taken you longer to do this than you thought could ever be possible and it is 10:00 at night.

11) Disconnect the hot connection to the alternator (11mm bolt) and the wire harness for the voltage regulator and ground connections.

12) Remove the alternator.

13) Buy a new alternator. This will cost more than you will want to pay. Mortgage your house, sell one (or more) of your kidneys, or embezzle funds from work as necessary.

14) Attach the new alternator and put the car back together better than you found it.

15) When it comes time for you to put those stupid fans back in, do what you should have done before--get your wife who has small and agile hands to do it for you. 16) When you are completly done, sit back and admire your work:

You will probably have at least two screws left over:

They probably don't go on anything important. If you do not have any screws left over, then:

  • You are an amazing mechanic and should probably do this for a living.
  • You dropped most of the screws into the engine in tiny crevices where they will never be recovered.
  • You're just reading this blog for fun and haven't actually replaced the alternator in your personal 2002 Kia Sedona.

17) Disinfect and bandage wounds.

18) Sleep for the 2 hours you have left before you have to wake up and go to work.

All done.


The Wolfepack: said...

Wow! What a trooper to get out there and get all of that done. And, the stray cat thing was sooo funny. Ethen and Rocco would appreciate that bc they try to kill every one they see. LOL.

Beth and Family said...

that was funny - I can't believe you did that yourself...I'm doing well to get gas in the van. (Beth)

Cindy said...

Wow, I'm impressed. We'll be sure to call you if our alternator breaks...we have a 2003 Sedona!

Angel said...

I'm glad you found humor in that project b/c if you're anything like Rocco, it was far from funny at the time.

tim said...

Thank You so much for this post,My sedonas alternator just went and I had no idea how to get that thing out until I ran across this.I did it last night in 3 hours.Not easy but it went well.Local mechanic wanted $208.00 labor to install the 220.00 alternator.Thanks to you I was able to do it myself.

Neil said...

You rock! I found your post too late. I was going to attempt this job myself and actually started taking things apart. Got the air intake line off and looked down and saw all the a/c lines and came to my senses.
Thanks for a great post, wonderful pictures and very funny.


Kat Harris said...

Bless your heart.

My husband and I were up until after 10 last night removing engine mounts and everything else trying to get the alternator out of our Sedona.

Only after all of this, did my hubby suggest we remove the front area.

This will save a big headache for many!


Anonymous said...

Hello, I think I'm kind of dumb, I can't remove the tensioner pulley, I got everything out until I try to loosen the pulley. Do I loose the nut or screen behind the pulley? I mean not at the belt side but at the other side?

Joe and Tammy said...

If we are talking about the same car model here (02 sedona), then you do not want to remove the tensioner. This is a manual adjustment pulley. All you have to do is locate the 12mm bolt head underneath the tensioner. Turning this nut will raise the tensioner, adding slack to the belt and allowing you to remove the alternator. Remeber, pay attention to the original tension of the belt and be sure to tighten back to the same tension.

Joe and Tammy said...

btw, we were pleasantly surprised that some people found this post useful. Just pls take these instructions with a grain of salt--this is not the advise of a mechanic! Oh, and just in case you got worried about those left over bolts, that was a joke. All the bolts were replaced properly. Also, no cats were harmed in the making of this blog.

phil said...

Ok, now I'm disappointed.

First off, thanks for the great step-by-step instructions. I was glad to find these since mine went out on our '02 Sedona a couple days ago. The $650 bill on the $120 part was enough to make me try this one out.

So we got stuck in a few places until we found your blog, and that saved the day! Thanks!

Then you say you have extra bolts left over. I remember thinking that wouldn't happen to us, cuz we were extremely careful putting everything back together. Then we ended up with 2 large bolts/washers and nowhere to put them.

It works, but the two bolts are puzzling. But you had the same problem, so we're ok...

Then you say you were only kidding about the bolts??? AAHH! Now I'm gonna go crazy wondering where they are supposed to go!

Thanks again, it really helped!

powell family said...

the powell family
thanks for the information it was a life saver . the powell family

Perry said...

DUDE!! You are the man! I just tore in to my mother-in-laws thinking my past alternator experiences had me covered. ... ... WRONG!!

I started down that path you took, and in frustration turned to Google when my liberal 2-hour budget was exhausted. (yeah, I'm that silly a guy...) The first thing I found and read left me in a weeping puddle with words like "loosen motor mounts and lift engine...".

I forged ahead, found your brilliant post and got the job done in a paltry 9 hours, less 2 hours running all over KC looking for a stinking flex extension. BAH! I was blessed to have a u-joint do the trick. At any rate, thanks again for taking the time to post your experience, including the awesome kids!!

Anonymous said...

after finding out the alternator was bad (and on April 15th, after already paying Uncle Sam), it was good to find some humor in this soon to be gritty situation.


Anonymous said...

This was very helpful. It took me a total of 3 hours! The van is back in action.

Thank you
Mike in Tampa

Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS YOU CHILD !!...My buddy and I thought our past mechanical experiences would be enough to get the job done....uhhhhhh....WRONG !!! WHO THE F#&K DESIGNED THIS ALTERNATOR / ENGINE SET UP !?!? I assure you, it wasn't the same fool who was going to have to complete this repair !! Seriously...thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience !! (PS..Sorry for the language, but I am still "upset" with Kia's design team...those bleeping bleeper bleepers !!)

Anonymous said...

well, Im an owner of one of those and I've got to tell you man, thanks for the posting because Im not going completely blind into action,,, thanks dude!!!!

Jenn said...

My husband and I are currently having a hell of a time getting the old alternator out of my 2002 Kia Spectra, due to it being partially stuck on the engine/frame -- the piece that holds the alternator in place.

Did you run into this issue? If so, how did you remedy it?

FYI, I really appreciate the humor/sarcasm in this post, especially the reference to the kids crying because Daddy gets to play. ;)

Email: x@jenn.nu

Joe and Tammy said...

All of the difficult issues associated with removing the alternator for a 2002 Sedona are mentioned above, which means that your Spectra issue might be a new one :P
Now, one interesting thing: the bolt that holds the alternator to the block in the Sedona does not have room to be removed completely, but it will come out enough to free the alternator.

Our beloved Sedona is no more. It blew a gasket on it's 8th birthday and it wasn't worth repairing. I hesitate to say beloved because it was a love-hate relationship: cheap to operate but difficult to repair. We will always remember the sight of four carseats filling the back seats. We are now in an almost-new Toyota Swagger Wagon with a bumper-to-bumper warranty and loving it.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for taking the time and mixing in a little humor with your post. I had an idea of what needed to be done, and dreaded the idea of this repair, but instead if launching my tools across the garage, I could only chuckle as I related to each step of instruction. Except my kids kept coming into the garage asking when I was taking them swimming. Unfortunately, they never made it to the pool ...lol

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty handy with tools but I took one look and thought oh crap. Then my brillant wife suggested I look on the internet and happened upon your post. Thanks so much for posting the pictures.

Anonymous said...

I am not Anonymous! I am Mark,

Thanks for posting this! I am going to replace ours this weekend. You sir, are a god among men.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious!! Decided I needed to boost our local economy and take it to the mechanic instead!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pictures and twisted humor this we are less than half way at 10pm on Saturday night (what a way to speed the weekend). Hope to have it done before 10pm on Sunday so I get more than two hours of sleep for Monday.


Anonymous said...

You are better than the kia repair man.This was extremely helpful. Thank you so much. Saved me $700.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, I'm replacing the timing belt driven
Water pump ( how stupid can u be!) and I need to get
The alternator out of the way. I think I hate this van!!!

Collin said...

Thank you for your wonderful post. You made me feel a lot better about letting the mechanic do it for $650.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Posts like this are why I can continue to convince my wife that the Snap-On man is worth every penny I give him... 4 roller cabs and 2 compressors later...

Anonymous said...

thanks for this post.
i was so glad that my friend gave me the number of that mobile mechanic cause i am not very smart. that guy came to my place with all his tools and in less than three hours my van was running perfectly with a new alternator and he gave a very good rate for labor. that saved me from a lot of trouble.. you may get a hold of him by email ifindyounow@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

It toke me a little over five hours to put one in my buddys van. Btw I'm a Kia specialist in Louisville Kentucky and from alldata it calls for 3.5 hours to do that job.The biggest thing make sure the fan are removed!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Joe & Family for the post.

With your detailed instructions in hand, I was bold enough to give my self a challenge over the hot July 4 week. It took me 10 hours to complete the task. A lot of sweat and swear through that 10 hours.

Most of the time was spent on removing the screws holding the two fans and getting the alternator out.

I would add the following tips to the instructions:

1) The fan on the driver's side should be the first one to be removed, since the BOTTOM of that fan is held by a clip only (no screw at the bottom). There are two screws on the side and one at the top. The other fan on the passenger side has two screws on the side and one screw each at the top and bottom. It is much easier to access the bottom screw on that fan when the fan on the driver side is out.

I also had a very very hard time getting the alternator out, because the bolt (the one at the back) was a touch too long. There was still 1 or 2mm of that bolt inside the engine block hole. In the end I literally forced it out, with a metal bar, with the bolt slanted toward the back.

When the alternator was out, the bolt was indeed about 2mm longer than the spacing between the car body and the nearest bolt hole on the engine block. Having seen that stupid design, I would not blame anyone who would swear at the designers for that van. Realizing I would have a hard time in putting the new alternator back with that bolt, I filed that bold down by about ~2mm, until that bolt can go into the hole on the engine block without slanting.

Like one of the earlier post, I did not really know how to manually adjust the tension pulley initially. Search on internet revealed that the pulley for adjusting the tension is the one without groove AND has a 14mm bolt at the center of the pulley. After loosing the 14mm bolt, one has to get underneath the van and use a 14 mm socket on a long handle to turn the bolt that is located under that pulley through a small openning. Tension adjustment is done by turning that screw.

Anonymous said...

This thread will help me a lot when I remove my a/c compressor. Recovering the Freon was a cake, but as soon as I saw the compressor location. I'd decided to call it a day and will be continuing this weekend or one of these weekdays when I get a time....This is ridiculous and suck to be us having this Sedona...

Steven McGinley said...

The engineer that designed this was the same douchebag engineer that designs MOST MODERN CARS TODAY!!......You see I myself am a PROFESSIONAL automobile technician and TRY doing this and many other operations on vehicles while getting paid a FLAT RATE for every operation you perform. Believe me, the automotive manufacturers don't PAY SQUAT for these repairs! They estimate the jobs to be done in a timeframe that is COMPLETELY
UNREALISTIC! Just be glad you didn't choose this as your everyday profession.

stufts79 said...

Thanks for this post! Was able to replace my the alternator of my 02 sedona because of this.

Ronald Edwards said...

Thanks so much for your very informative site or blog whichever. It helped me out with my wife'said 2003 kia. May your kia rest in peace. Anyway, I got her alternator out,harder to get it in. I got it back together, (lost 2 bolts)the kia ate them),now it starts up just fine but the thing dies when I put it into gear. Just a short note, the alternator was fine the battery was on its last legs. Didn't need to remove the alternator, just the battery. Thanks again you helped me out so very much. Thank you thank you thank you.

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